Opinion – We should insist that governments regain control over their finances

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

By now we all know that somewhere along the line, the Trudeau government decided to abandon its 2015 election campaign promise to balance the federal budget by the time voters go to the polls again in 2019. Instead, Liberals plan to continue their deficit spending and related borrowing, with Bill Morneau, our Finance Minister, saying that “Every responsible leader knows that a good plan has to be flexible enough to absorb the changes in circumstances because circumstances always change.” Really! With an economy that, to be sure, has its problems, but which nonetheless has produced ever-decreasing rates of unemployment and great corporate profits, the only “changes in circumstances” that I see are higher than anticipated revenues for the federal government and most provincial governments. So how could we go from a projected federal balanced budget to an $18.1 billion federal budget deficit that is now projected for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019? And why is it that deficits are now projected “forever”? (more…)

Hamilton and Oshawa ports could be merged under surprise federal proposal

Hamilton and Oshawa ports could be merged under surprise federal proposal

By Alex Binkley

Transport Minister Marc Garneau surprised the Hamilton and Oshawa Port Authorities by proposing they be amalgamated into a new entity. “This action is being taken to improve port efficiencies and planning in the region,” Garneau said in a statement. “This amalgamation represents an opportunity to take advantage of emerging business opportunities and to increase economic growth and develop the supply chain in this densely populated region. The integration of port activities in the two cities “is expected to enhance investment and trade opportunities, and contribute to Canada’s global competitiveness,” he said. (more…)

Caisse de dépôt and Fonds de solidarité FTQ invest $112 million in Groupe Océan

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (la Caisse) and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (le Fonds) have announced that they are purchasing a minority stake in Groupe Océan for $112 million, shared equally between the two investors. Groupe Océan is a Québec-based maritime services provider that primarily operates in Canada, and now also internationally. Groupe Océan will use the proceeds of this investment to expand its Canadian activities, to continue its global growth and to acquire new equipment. (more…)

Tariff worries loom over Great Lakes trade

Tariff worries loom over Great Lakes trade

By Keith Norbury

If the two Canadian provinces and eight U.S. states that make up the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway region formed their own country, it would boast the world’s third largest economy. That was one of the notable observations in a recent report commissioned by Chamber of Marine Commerce, an Ottawa-based bi-national association representing shipowners and operators, ports, shippers, and other marine-related companies.

The region’s annual GDP of over US$6 trillion — exceeded only by the U.S. and China — includes domestic cargo moved on either side of the border, and cargo bound for or arriving from overseas. But a fair chunk of that is trade across the border — trade that many transportation industry insiders and experts fear will suffer from the tariff war that has erupted between Canada and the U.S. (more…)

Trump: “Tariffs are the greatest”; Canadians angered by U.S. President’s trade negotiating moves

Trump: “Tariffs are the greatest”; Canadians angered by U.S. President’s trade negotiating moves

By R. Bruce Striegler

“The Trump Administration is proceeding with unilateral measures to address what it has characterized as “unfair” trade, risking retaliation, but banking on a threat of massive escalation to extract a favourable outcome for itself,” says the C.D. Howe Institute. Released in June, a new report titled “Quantifying the Impacts of the U.S. Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs”, its authors find that protective trade measures imposed by the United States will reduce U.S. and Canadian GDP, while paradoxically strengthening trade partners outside the North American region through competitive gains. (more…)